ADA, Ohio – Heading into halftime on a big run, things were going in the right direction for the Heidelberg University men's basketball team. That momentum diminished quickly, however, as host Ohio Northern caught fire in the second half and pulled away, defeating the Student Princes 76-66. The Polar Bear's shooting, paired with a cold streak by the Berg made the difference down the stretch.
The Polar Bears shot a blistering 60.7% from the field in the second half, including 56.3% from behind the 3-point line, giving them the edge in a big second period for the home team.
On the flip side, Heidelberg was only able to hit 13.3% from behind the arc in the second half, keeping them from mounting a comeback once they fell behind.
An 18-4 run by ONU midway through the second half was the deciding stretch, giving the Polar Bears a lead that they would not relinquish as the game winded down.
The Student Princes came out of the gate, taking a 6-0 lead at the 16:48 mark after Jackson Blue knocked down one-of-two from the line.
Ohio Northern responded quickly, and in a big way. The Polar Bears went on a 17-2 run over the next five minutes, taking a nine-point lead after Lucas Pennington made a layup.
Heidelberg rallied back, tying the game with nine straight points, including a trey from Ben Jones with 8:16 remaining.
After ONU took a 28-22 lead with 4:31 to play, the Berg seized all of the momentum. They went on a 14-0 run to end the half, including five points by Kiere' Bennie, giving the Student Princes a 36-28 edge at the break.
Heidelberg used that run to get the edge to start the second period. They took their largest lead of the game with 15:38 to play after Chris Moxley made a layup to make the score 44-35 in favor of the Berg.
At this point, the Student Princes went ice cold while the Polar Bears heated up, and the home team went on an 18-4 run. A 3-pointer by Joey DiOrio gave ONU a 53-48 lead at the 10:11 mark.
Three treys by DiOrio in the next five posessions for the Polar Bears broke open the game, giving them a 66-55 advantage with 5:21 remaining.
Heidelberg was able to get the lead down to single digits with 1:26 to play after Shane Lee made a layup to make the score 71-63, but it was not enough as ONU hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Bennie scored 15 points in the game, marking the 12th time this season he has scored in double-figures for the Berg.
Heidelberg recorded 15 steals as a team which is the fifth time this season. The Student Princes lead the OAC with 11.6 takeaways per game.
A product of the Berg's pressure defense, Ohio Northern committed 19 turnovers in the game, tying a season-high for the Polar Bears.
James Hanley scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the 3-point line.
The Student Princes will continue their four-game road stretch, traveling to 5th-ranked Marietta on Saturday as a part of a doubleheader with the women's game. The men are scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start at Ban Johnson Arena in Marietta. Earlier this season on December 13th, the Pioneers defeated the Berg in a close 83-77 contest in Seiberling Gymnasium.